Thursday, September 30, 2010


Members in a meeting to agree on the MOU

The members of the civil society under the umbrella of Rwenzori Consortium for Civic Competence – RWECO for short working on issues of election monitoring in the Rwenzori region in partnership with HIVOS; CEFORD and ACORD – working on issues of promoting good governance in West Nile and Acholi regions respectively in partnership with Oxfam Novib; and Public Affairs Centre working on civic empowerment in Teso region in collaboration with Oxfam GB; Have formed a consortium called Citizens Election Watch-IT or CEW- IT in short. This is based on the desire to contribute to building the competence of the grassroots in civic matters and working together so as to strengthen civic participation in the promotion of fairness and transparency in the electoral process in Uganda. CEW-IT Specific Objectives are:
To develop a harmonized approach to enhancing civic participation in the electoral process, decision making, monitoring and information sharing using modern ICT and other pragmatic approaches.
To strengthen advocacy on policy issues in regard to the electoral process in Uganda.
To share resident capacities among the CEW- IT members and sister organizations that do similar work.
To strengthen the citizens’ voice and influence through improved dialogue and engagement between the leaders and their constituencies.
To jointly mobilize and manage resources for the consortium.
To network with other agencies at the regional, national and international level that have similar objectives.
Ultimately, CEW-IT brings on board resources and personnel skills RWECO members such as:Integrated Women Development Programme (IWDP), Good Hope Foundation For Rural Development (GHFRD), Karambi Action for Life Improvement (KALI), Rwenzori Information Centers Network (RICNET), Rwenzori Anticorruption Coalition (RAC) and Kabarole Research and Resource Centre (KRC) ; working in western Uganda. CEFORD, ACORD and PAC working in the Eastern (Teso Karamoja regions ),west Nile region and Northern region.

The above organization have signed an MOU that governs their operation and will deploy over 6000 monitors assistance with 150 IT personnel to ensure that the information the monitors collect is put on web based platforms similar to or


This is to announce a Round Table Workshop on the electoral process in East Africa with Uganda as a case in point on 4th and 5th October 2010 at Sports View Hotel Kireka starting 8:30am on each day.

Back ground:
The East African Countries are undergoing national elections: the referendum on the new constitution in Kenya in August 2010, General elections in Rwanda in August 2010, General Elections in Tanzania in October 2010, Elections in Burundi in phases from May – September 2010, General elections in Uganda in 2011 and Kenya in 2012. In response, the civic society in these countries is playing an active role in influencing the electoral process through conducting civic and voter education and carrying out a watch – dog role over the polling process. Given the advancement in technology, these civic organizations are increasingly using a mix of both traditional observation and modern web based tools (in particular as developed by Ushahidi) to document and report about the electoral process in these countries. This is being done in partnership with the development partners.

In this spirit Hivos organized a round table discussion in Nairobi in March 2010 that brought together HIVOS partners and other interested parties to map out common interests and concerns; outline possible interventions and strategies; and formulate roadmaps through which each stakeholder could engage in the elections processes.
Of particular importance to the Workshop was appropriate and innovative ways of using ICTs as tools for effective monitoring and management of the elections processes. Our Kenyan colleagues immediately demonstrated the power of this approach. Please see to get an impression.

As a follow up to the Nairobi workshop another one is being organized in Kampala on 4th and 5th October 2010 at Sports View Hotel, Kireka.

The Kampala workshop will mainly focus on how different stakeholders can coordinate efforts in conducting civic and voter education and observing the elections using modern ICT. This will be with a specific focus on the Uganda 2011 General Elections.

As a precursor to this workshop Hivos and Oxfam Novib partners in Uganda have been consulting different stakeholders in the electoral process in Uganda last week. This consultation was in one way aimed at mapping out stakeholders and what they are doing in preparation for the elections. This is expected to be concretized at the Kampala workshop where clarity on who is doing what and where will be reached.

Participants for the Kampala workshop have been identified from civil society organizations in East Africa, the donor community in Uganda and beyond and the media. Specific focus has been given to organizations and institutions with expertise in applying ICT in the electoral process. A full list of proposed participants is attached.

The detailed programme of the workshop will follow later on.

Participants from outside Kampala will be accommodated at the Sports View Hotel Kireka. Those from with Kampala will be expected to commute to the hotel on each day. All participants are expected to arrange their own transport to the hotel.

Participants from outside Uganda will be expected to arrive at the hotel on the evening of Sunday 3rd October and check out in the evening of Tuesday 5th or morning of Wednesday 6th October 2010 depending on the flight schedule. Reimbursement of the travel costs including air tickets (economy class) and transfers to and from the airport will be made upon presentation of receipts/invoices.

For further details contact:

• Mr. John Silco on +256701607149 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +256701607149      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +256701607149      end_of_the_skype_highlighting OR +256772607149
• Mr. James Mwirima on +256772986345 OR +256702986345 OR +256753986345

Please confirm your participation to:

1. M John Silco
2. Workshop administrator

Map of Sport view Hotel Kireka:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

RWECO members partipates in referendum observat ion - Kenya

James from RWECO, John Silco from RIC-NET and Crispna from CEDU are some of the Ugandans who participated in joint observation of the referendum in Kenya. By invitation from CRECO, a HIVOS partner organization from Kenya the trio joined a team of East African and European delegates to observe the referendum.
This exercise was designed to act as a pre-test of the regional HIVOS programme for elections and electoral processes monitoring and observation in the region.

At the closure of the exercise the foreigner observation team,HIVO's staff in Kenya and members Kenyan CSO(CRECO,CLARION,COBADES and 4Cs)held a press conference at Serena to give the preliminary report. the general statement was that the observes were to a great extend satisfied with the conduct of the referendum under the Interim Electoral Commission(IIEC).
By the observer team, the following was noted:

On the general, it was observed that the observation was properly organized and that in all areas where the roaming monitors had visited, the observers were present.

The combination of civic education, voter education and observation (complete with ICT) was a very good methodology and that it should be duplicated across the

ICT- the use of text messages from our Observers and the public was splendid. It was observed that we could get more information from the public than our observers. However, the ICT team had to make a call to the senders of the messages or the poll watcher in the neighborhood to verify the message from the public. some reports might just be alarmist or send sms for fun.

There was a good number of manpower manning the command centre, the ICT centre at CRECO for observer's reports and at Ushahidi centre for the Public sourcing.

It was noted that at one time the centre needed more people due to the high number of sms’s coming in at the same time especially between 7.00am-11.00am then 5.00pm-10.00pm.
Some of the salient issues that were raised by observed in the Kenya should be noted by other east African countries with scheduled elections soon.

on the web based platform, it was noted that The reports once approved and posted were not easy to correct - for instance where there was a problem but intervention had been done and the situation had normalized one could not go to the site and update.
1.The ushahidi tool used in Kenya should be developed and used in Tanzania, Uganda during their coming General Elections.
2.The lessons learned from the short message technology is that in every country, we should go for the bigger established network (like Safaricom in Kenya that CRECO had used) to avoid a technical hitch that normally arise from overcrowding in the network.
3.It was also imperative that we have the numbers for our recruited observers programmed by the service provider, and the software to be made to distinguish the messages from the public and the observers. At the least for our observers, the SMS message should automatically show the name of the observer, the constituency and the polling station.
4.The observation tools used should be localized to the various environments of each country and improved on any aspects that has been missing. A checklist for roaming monitors needs to be developed and availed.
5.Kenya and the Rwandan groups would share the report of the observation with the rest of the members from other countries.
6.Accreditation cards for international observers are usually done early by the electoral bodies and therefore planning has to start early. The visitors should be in the country a week before the election day so as to allow them get acquainted with the electoral process. Partners need to develop and avail information packs to visitors at the point of entry (hotel) for information and preparedness.

RWECO shares election experience with Dutch and Belgium embassy Officers

"Its so beautiful" the coordinator Rweco remarked as RIC-net programme manager Mr.john Silco presented the ICT strategy to the delegates from Dutch and Belgium embassies.The delegates made a visit to Rweco, a consortium of civil society organizations involved in the monitoring of the electoral process.During the meeting with the Delegates, the programme manager RIC-NET revealed the ICT strategy which RIC-net and other RWECO members intends to use in monitoring the electoral process of 2010 to 2011.This strategy will use the Ushandi platform that was used in Kenya during the constitution referendum 2010.This platform allows the citizens and monitors to send short sms to the web that describes incidents happening is a specific place for action by the election commission.later these SMS are used as backup to the final report on whether the elections where conducted in a free and fair manner.
Later, the team of RWECO members and the embassy staff visited places where the RWECO monitors have been participating in election monitoring. The observation report from this field visit can be accessed from RWECO coordinator and RIC-NET.
By Timothy from RIC-NET